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Friday, 17 December 2010

Gautama Budda -Young Prince Embraced Asceticism And Became The Monk Gautama , Unusual But Real

Siddhartha's parents belonged to the Indian warrior caste. They lived in a great palace in their capital city of Kapilavatthu, beneath the majestic mountains of the Himalayas. Queen Maha Maya was beautiful, intelligent and good. King Suddhodana was honoured and respected because he ruled well. Both of them were admired and loved by the people they ruled.
Queen Maya, his mother, first had a dream of a beautiful white elephant coming down into her womb, and this was interpreted as a sign that the Buddha, or a universal emperor, was about to be born.
Five days after his birth, the young prince received the name of Siddhartha. When his parents took him to the temple, the statues of the gods prostrated themselves before him, great were the rejoicings of the people over the birth of this illustrious prince. Also at this time a devout old man named Asita came down from the Himalayas to meet the newborn prince. 
An ascetic of high spiritual attainments, Asita was particularly pleased to hear this happy news. Having been a tutor to the King, he visited the palace to see the royal baby. The king, who felt honoured by his unexpected visit, carried the child up to him in order to make the child pay him due reverence. To the surprise of all, the child's legs turned and rested on the matted locks of the ascetic.
After seven days Queen Maya died, and her place as mother was taken by her sister, whose devotion and love became legendary.
When the young prince was in his twelfth year, the king called the wise Brahmans in council. They revealed that Siddhartha would devote himself to asceticism if he cast his eyes on age, sickness, or death ~ and, if he were to meet a hermit.
Wanting his son to be a universal monarch instead, the king surrounded the palace with a triple enclosure and guard and proclaimed that the use of the words death and grief were forbidden. The most beautiful princess in the land, Yasodhara, was found for his bride, and after Siddhartha proved himself in many tournaments calling for strength and prowess, when he was 16, the two were wed.
Siddhartha was kept amused and entertained for some time by this privileged life behind the palace walls until one day his divine vocation awoke in him, and he decided to visit the nearby town. The king called for everything to be swept and decorated, and any ugly or sad sight to be removed. But these precautions were in vain for while Siddhartha was travelling through the streets, an old wrinkled man appeared before him.
In astonishment the young prince learned that decrepitude is the fate of those who live life through. Still later he met an incurable invalid and then a funeral procession. Finally heaven placed in his path an ascetic, a beggar, who told Siddhartha that he had left the world to pass beyond suffering and joy, to attain peace at heart.
Confirmed in his meditation, all these experiences awakened in Siddhartha the idea of abandoning his present life and embracing asceticism. He opened his heart to his father and said, "Everything in the world is changing and transitory. Let me go off alone like the religious beggar."
Grief-stricken at the idea of losing his son, the king doubled the guard around the walls and increased the pleasures and distractions within. And at this point, Yasodhara bore him a son whom he called Rahula (meaning "chain" or "fetter"), a name that indicated Gautama's sense of dissatisfaction with his life of luxury, while the birth of his son evoked in him much tenderness. 
His apparent sense of dissatisfaction turned to disillusion when he saw three things from the window of his palace, each of which represented different forms human suffering: a decrepit old man, a diseased man, and a corpse.Yet even this could not stop the troubling thoughts in his heart or close his eyes to the realizations of the impermanence of all life, and of the vanity and instability of all objects of desire.
His mind made up, he awoke one night and, casting one last look at his wife and child, mounted his horse Kataka and rode off accompanied by his equerry Chandaka. At the city gates Siddhartha turned over his horse to Chandaka, then he cut off his hair, gave up his sumptuous robes, and entered a hermitage where the Brahmans accepted him as a disciple. Siddhartha had now and forever disappeared. He became the monk Gautama, or as he is still called, Sakyamuni, the ascetic of the Sakyas.

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